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Public Health Madison and Dane County bans large gatherings

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Public Health Madison & Dane County issued a countywide directive to stop mass gatherings of 250 or more people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 Friday evening.

The order is effective at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13. "This order will continue until further notice, or until it is rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by the Public Health Officer," the health department said.

“We are taking proactive steps to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect the health of our community,” said Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “We realize these orders make a substantial impact on the lives of people in our community, and we believe they are necessary to protect public health.”

Wisconsin statute gives health officers the authority to take “all measures necessary to prevent, suppress, and control communicable disease.”

The health department said limiting the occurrence of large gatherings of 250 or more people is important for preventing the rapid spread of COVID-19.

“It is possible that as we see more cases of COVID-19, this order will need to shift to best protect the health of our community,” said Heinrich.

For events with fewer than 250 attendees, Public Health Madison & Dane County recommends the following precautionary steps:

  • Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions that are at increased risk of COVID-19 are encouraged not to attend (including employees);
  • Social distancing recommendations should be met (limit contact of people within 6 feet from each other for 10 minutes or longer);
  • Proper hand hygiene and sanitation available to all attendees and employees;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

(Our entire coronavirus coverage is available here.)

The new strain of coronavirus causes the disease COVID-19. Symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath.

In severe cases, pneumonia can develop. Those most at risk include the elderly, people with heart or lung disease as well as anyone at greater risk of infection.

For most, the virus is mild, presenting as a common cold.

Anyone who thinks they may have the disease should call ahead to a hospital or clinic before going in for a diagnosis. Doing so gives the staff time to take the proper precautions so the virus does not spread.

Those needing emergency medical services should continue to use 911.

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JT Cestkowski

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